A human waste stockpile on a Sullivan Township property was investigated Friday by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
The biosolid waste was obtained from the city of Rocky River, according to a permit, and was supposed to be spread out over the property.
But it’s sat in a pile, and EPA and township officials showed concern that heavy rains have caused runoff into a nearby waterway that connects to streams and drinking wells.
The EPA sent investigators to the property, located on County Road 40 between township roads 581 and 681, and found no active runoff or evidence of prior runoff, according to agency public information officer Dina Pierce.
“Everything was in order during our inspection,” she said. “No odors were detected and no violations were cited. Staff met with the property owner, local officials, and neighbors. An earthen berm was also staged around the pile, which is not required.”
Sullivan Township trustee Duane Jenkins is who initially notified the EPA about the situation, Pierce said.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, “The use of (biosolids) in the production of crops for human consumption when practiced in accordance with existing federal guidelines and regulations, presents negligible risk to the consumer, to crop production, and to the environment.”
Federal law states that a buffer is not necessary in the use of biosolids as long as its in small quantities and the waste is considered “Class A,” meaning it has been treated to contain low levels of metals and won’t attract parasites or microbes.
When used in bulk, a buffer is required at areas treated with Class A biosolids.
Class B biosolids, which are treated but still contain pathogens, are subject to public access and crop harvesting restrictions.
The waste located in Sullivan Township is Class B.
Trucks at the site contain additional Class B waste but remain covered and also fall in line with safety standards. The open pile was three to four times farther from waterways than is required by the EPA, according to Pierce.
Pierce also said responsibility to adhere to regulations ultimately falls back on the city of Rocky River, not the property owner.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.